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Let me start by addressing some selected points that have been brought up:

1. The whole idea of "paying your dues," in reference to the schwack, the
huff, etc: The use of language here - the term "payment" - seems to suggest
that, by by paying one's dues, one has earned a right, or an entitlement, to
enjoy a certain wild place. But no such "payment" has been made; the schwack
(or lack thereof) affects only the schwacker himself. In fact, to place some
ethic of deservingness upon a wild place which, by itself, has no such
ethic, is to lay claim to the place. Mother nature has no notion of
deservingness, and to say that one person does not deserve to enjoy a place
as much as another is incredibly selfish.

2. There are legitimate, practical, and non-theoretical arguments against
the open dissemination of information about backcountry skiing, in regards
to the quality of skiing itself. Many are concerned that the unbridled
distribution of information will lead to a diminished skiing experience for
those already in the know. Fundamentally, they're right. But it's an open
question as to how much of an effect these internet posts really have. Some
feel the effect is drastic, others feel that it's negligible; and the real
answer is somewhere in between. So it's in the interest of those in the know
to do what they can do slow the distribution of skiing information, and I
understand that. I even partake myself. However, I see this as selfish: by
preserving the quality of our own skiing, we're hiding a world of fun from
many others.

3. There's also an environmental concern here, although I'm not much worried
myself. As I see it, non-trimming backcountry skiing traffic has a pretty
low, largely acceptable, and hopefully sustainable level of impact, although
I'm no expert. Even at popular places like the Teardrop and Big Jay
(pre-swath), the problem is minimal. As I see it, slightly increased traffic
in currently quiet areas is unlikely to have a large effect.

And now for the rant:

I understand, guys, I really do. For us, the ones that know, our snow is
better off when it's hidden from those that don't know. But it's that
attitude of selfishness, and the unwillingness to share, that greatly
disappoints me, and it's one of the reasons that we don't have a good
community of backcountry skiers in this state. Climbers share, and they have
a thriving community here in Vermont. It's even got a heirarchy of
experienced climbers who share their skills and their favorite places with
less experienced folk. We're ages from that here in the skiing world.
Personally, I have no BC ski community - I grab my skis and go, and if I'm
lucky, one of my close friends will come along for the ride. This list is
the closest thing I've got, and I haven't skied with any of you, ever.

Don't expect people to follow some community ethic when they're not part of
any greater community. Maybe a little more openness is what we need to forge
one. That's where I stand.

- BW

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